Jackson is no stranger to politics--he campaigned heavily for Bill Bradley for president in 2000 (Bradley joked that if elected he'd name Jackson his secretary of defense). According to his agent, Todd Musburger, Jackson has been asked to run for various offices in his home state of Montana as well as in North Dakota, where he attended high school. As for L.A., well, the answer is apparently no. "I suppose every savvy politician must say 'never say never,' " Musburger says. "But Phil is still experiencing life after basketball to see if he likes life after basketball." Even if Jackson winds up coming back to the Lakers, chances are in four years he'd be ready for a change.
So will we.
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How About a Comedy Host, a Poet, or Somebody's Mama, or Perhaps a Tree? A few more nominees for mayor:
Jon Stewart. "He is the sharpest political mind on the scene in the U.S. right now," says Michael Dear, founding director of the Southern California Studies Center at USC. "He comes the closest to telling the truth. He draws people's attention to politics in a way that a lot of politicians can't, especially for young people."
Heloise. Novelist Yxta Maya Murray can think of no one more suited to the job than Heloise, an abbas in 12th century France. "She was a developer and enacter of laws," Murray says. "She was a fund-raiser and she was a wildly passionate, literate, educated woman."
A Big Old Native Oak. "It helps hold the soil together and our city together," says Andy Lipkis, founder of TreePeople. During a major storm, one large oak can naturally hold, store, treat and release 57,000 gallons of water. "No one sees that," Lipkis says. "It does it very quietly. It's very generous, very powerful. It works behind the scenes to take care of our most basic needs."
Steve Abee. "The mayor, theoretically, should be the greatest man or woman in Los Angeles," says Lewis MacAdams, a poet and co-founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River. "Somebody who gives his life to his city in a certain basic way." For MacAdams that person is Steve Abee, a poet and English teacher at Thomas Starr King Middle School, whose book "The Bus" McAdams calls "one of the great books written about Los Angeles."
Connie Rice's Mother. "She'd come in there and say, 'What's your story? Tell me why you're messing this up,' " says her daughter, a civil rights attorney. Rice herself has been mentioned as a mayoral contender, but she dismisses the idea with a laugh and the assertion, "I'd be shot." She says she is very much like her mother, but that her mother, a former schoolteacher who will soon turn 70, has the advantage of age. "Very few people mess with wise, elderly women," she says.
Michael York or Edward James Olmos. "Both have a solid record of participation in public affairs, community affairs, charitable affairs," says state librarian emeritus and professor of history at USC Kevin Starr. "Notice I went to two actors. Simply because our politicians tend to be invisible."